Environment What really happened to Australia’s megafauna?

What really happened to Australia’s megafauna?

What caused the wipe out of Australia’s largest land animals including two-metre tall, wombat-like diprotodon, the 200-plus kilogram flightless bird genyronis, and the giant kangaroo procoptodon?

Despite earlier studies that suggest the die-out was due to climate change, Professor Michael Bird from James Cook University argues it is a result of humanity.

The research team went through existing and outdated data that had been gathered over the past 40 to 50,000 years with a fine-tooth comb to uncover the truth.

“There was a very careful and exhaustive rescreening of dates and evidence,” said Professor Bird.

It’s thought humans arrived on the Sahul landmass – an unbroken continent that is now New Guinea, the Australian mainland and Tasmania – 45 to 55,000 years ago.

The findings from this study are globally significant, indicating that the arrival of people in Sahul was the first time in Earth’s history that modern humans reached a large landmass not already occupied by other hominids.

This study will inform future research and helps us to understand the impact of humans on otherwise untouched ecosystems.

Read more here: James Cook University.